Evangelia Costantakos Kingsley
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'Once Upon a Mattress': The Princeton Festival offers a perfect piece of summer entertainment

by ANTHONY STOECKERT
The Princeton Packet – June 19, 2012

EVANGELIA KINGSLEY is one mother of a mother.

As Queen Aggravain in The Princeton Festival’s delightful staging of Once Upon a Mattress, Kingsley offers a master class on comic performance. From her exaggerated proper voice to contorting her face into seemingly impossible positions as she expresses emotions from shock, evil enthusiasm and a thirst for power, Kingsley is a marvel.

. . .

 

Places to Live:
Traveling Music for the Restless
Metropolitan Room
Sandi Durell, Cabaret Scenes
October 14, 2008

The Metropolitan Room was buzzing with friends, professional theater associates and near full capacity as Evangelia Kingsley entered “Traveling the World.”  She is an experienced operatic soprano (with lots of dramatic coloratura), possessing honed acting skills, who is having great fun in the cabaret world when given the opportunity! Seen as “Signora Naccarelli’ in the First National Tour of Light in the Piazza as well as in the Choir in Broadway’s Coram Boy, Evangelia is an exhilarating addition to cabaret.

What separates this soprano from the few others who make their way into cabaret, is her  sense of humor and tongue-in-cheek sensibility.  Having lived and studied in Paris, Italy and being of Greek descent, Evangelia uses all of her experiences to embark on a musical world-wide adventure. Of course, “A Foggy Day” in rich legit soprano does stretch the imagination. However, “How Are Things in Glocca Morra” entwined with “Loch Lomond” is beautiful music to the ears.

The arrangements are clever, segregating the Parisians in one place (“The Poor People of Paris,” “C’est si bon”) and the romantically emotional “Lush Life” and “Hotel.” Not far away on the “Isle of Capri” the humorous Mrs. Wentworth Brewster is lurking at “A Bar on the Piccola Marina.”  Evangelia, a native New Yorker, presents all this with great aplomb as we’re brought to laughter over and over again.

“Jerusalem Gold,” sung in Hebrew and English in memory of Amos Ben-Gurion, along with “The Bells Will Toll,” are serious and reflective moments. Ms. Kingsley “(I) Happen(s) to Like New York” and is in one of the best drunken stupors imaginable as “Radical Sally,” hardly able to lift her head off the piano, as she high kicks her way  thru “I’ll Take New York.”

Attention is paid to current socio-political affairs with “This Land Is Your Land,” “The House I Live In,” “Take Care of This House” and “American Tune.”  Menken/Ashman’s “Somewhere That’s Green” gets some extra color added with special lyrics and heightened awareness as an ode to au natural, raw veggies and solar panels.

Accompanist Chip Prince, bedecked in kilts, is a fine musician adding his own touch of levity. The show is directed by Eliza Beckwith. Perhaps next time, Evangelia will add some additional dates.

www.cabaretscenes.org

Alarm Will Sound alerts listeners to Adams's hits
Richard Dyer, Boston Globe
December 5, 2005
 
The most effective of the soloists was the impassioned mezzo Evangelia Kingsley as Consuelo, the undocumented immigrant from El Salvador.

"Todd" makes the cut
The Star-Ledger, Peter Filichia
July 6, 2005
 
. . . Evangelia Kingsley is a riveting Beggar Woman . . .

Twisted: A Tribute to Lunacy
by Barbara Leavy
cabaretscenes.com
August 12, 2004

If you want to see a cabaret show that is unusual, funny, and frequently emotionally powerful, catch Twisted: A Tribute to Lunacy at Danny's Skylight Room. Conceived by singer and actress Evangelia Kingsley and her music director and accompanist, Chip Prince, the show portrays individual and global madness, with such familiar songs such as Jacques Brel's (in translation) Crazy Carousels, which newly married Evangelia thinks is an impression of the first year of wedlock, plus Stephen Sondheim's Losing My Mind, and Kurt Weill's The Saga of Jenny, as well as less familiar numbers such as the stunning Reeperbahn (red-light district) from Alice.

Evangelia possesses a highly trained, operatic soprano, and body language that reflects three years of study for a Master of Fine Arts. Tall, with striking Mediterranean looks (she is proudly Greek), she skillfully dramatizes both with her voice and also with her facial expressions the intensity of aberrant states of mind, always stopping before such intensity crosses the line into parody. She can easily be imagined as playing Medea. She is also a madcap performer, and since madness sometimes has to do with the ludicrous, Evangelia proves an adept, even slapstick comedian. Her ironic wit can be found in such throwaway lines as explaining that Gretchen, the seduced and abandoned young girl betrayed by Goethe's Faust, sat at her spinning wheel and "unraveled."

It is perhaps a quibble to argue that the show's weakness is that the theme of insanity is perhaps too diffuse. Much of what Evangelia deems lunacy is what the existentialist philosophers call absurdity, a total lack of meaning in a world that can then be seen as crazy. Kurt Weill's 1920s song about a global oil empire that began with a single person selling seashells becomes in this show a political statement for our times. But this is a very different kind of madness from Gretchen's descent into real insanity. And a beautiful rendition of Mary Yeston's Unusual Way from Nine, which ended the performance (the audience demanded several encores), can only by a stretch be seen as having to do with lunacy. On the other hand, a show devoted only to the Gretchens of this world would probably be too repetitious and thus tedious.

 
BACKSTAGE, January 16, 2004
by David Finkle

When a singer bills herself as "soprano," you can be pretty sure you're in for some sort of classical music-drudging.  You can be even more sure when a show called "Tell Me the Truth About Love" carries the long-winded subtitle "Songs of Love and Other Madness by Bernstein, Bolcom, Britten and Poulenc & Weill."  Yes, the Poulenc would be Francis and the Britten would be Benjamin.

What may surprise you is how someone classically trained is funny about herself and her material.  Which soprano Evangelia Kingsley was throughout her Danny's Skylight Room show last month.  I'm still thinking about the hilarious yet subtle drunk she threw during the William Bolcom-Arnold Weinstein "At the Last Lousy Moments of Love."  Dark, fleshy, sexy, and proudly Greek, Kingsley examined amour from a number of ironic angles, but only after she chatted briefly about her buxom self, saying "there they are" early enough in the show to get that amenity out of the way.  She's also refreshingly self-deprecatory.  "It never occurred to me that people would want to hear more," she said, when an encore was demanded.  She had one, though, because, maybe intuitively, she understood she's good enough for an audience to want to hear plenty more.

 
Excerpt from: 
CABARET SUCCEEDS IN SMALL SETTING AS SOLOIST
ACTS THE PART
The Repository, Canton, Ohio, Friday, March 26, 1999
by David Lewellen

The cabaret, a small-scale, originally avant-garde form of musical expression, got a sympathetic airing Thursday afternoon from a small group of Canton Symphony Orchestra musicians.
 
The orchestra's Cameo Concert for the month was devoted to 20th-century classical composers who went slumming in the popular cabaret format.  Conductor John Russo and soprano soloist Evangelia Costantakos explained that cabaret began in the late 19th century, as a reaction against the grandiose symphonic and operatic works that then dominated the musical landscape.
 
Costantakos had a lot of work to do on this program, and did most of it beautifully.  Cabaret is an initimate activity, well suited to the small Cable Recital Hall, and Costantakos' voice and emotions filled the room.  According to the program, she was a professional actress before she began studying voice, and it's easy to believe.  She was adept at portraying character, letting the audience know what kind of person was singing and why, in the space of a song lasting three or four minutes.
 
Particularly in the low register, Costantakos' voice seems to belong in a smoky, dimly lighted room filled with ladies and gentlemen in evening dress, sipping drinks.  She has a real empahty for the cabaret genre.

 
 
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Evangelia Kingsley